Oct 6th, 2009

Verizon and Google issued a press release announcing their partnership on mobile and wireless products and services – namely Android – and held a webcast to discuss their plans moving forward. Some very interesting developments came from discussion as Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Head Android Andy Rubin explained what this meant for consumers and investors.

The bottom line:

  • 2 Verizon Android Phones are imminent
  • No gimping… Verizon plans to be 100% open (or as far to it as they can be)
  • Not just phones… multi-year roadmap suggests other types of devices

We already have 4 Verizon Android Phones in the rumor mill (Motorola Sholes, HTC Desire, HTC Passion, HTC Predator) so it sounds like we’ll see two of those this year and two of those next year if I had to guess. We can expect these announcements “in the next several weeks”. How about one of them this week, Verizon? Please?

Two things REALLY struck me as surprising/impressive during the webcast:

  1. Verizon’s dedication to openness
  2. Google’s unwavering support of Verizon

When asked whether or not Verizon Wireless would support/allow the Google Voice application, something Apple/AT&T blocked on the iPhone, McAdams had this to say:

“Yes we do. Either you have an open device or not. This will be open.”

Right on, Verizon. Right on.

I’m not sure if this is just typical PR bubbly, warm talk for the sake of it or whether there is some real substance behind it, but Eric Schmidt really stuck his neck out by calling the Verizon Wireless network “the best” in terms of reach, scalability and performance saying, “there is no question.”

Wow… it’s one thing to be supportive its another to say Verizon is hands down better than your primary Android launch carrier (T-Mobile) and another current partner on the verge of launching their first Android Phone (Sprint). I’ve always maintained Verizon has the best network… and I think that’s the overall American perception. But how will T-Mo and Sprint feel about this?

The announcement was preceded by this press release:

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Wireless and Google(TM) today announced a strategic partnership that will leverage the Verizon Wireless network and the best of the Android(TM) open platform to deliver leading-edge mobile applications, services and devices. Both companies view this agreement as an opportunity to offer consumers an array of products that combine the speed of the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network with the flexibility of the Android mobile platform.

Integral to this agreement is a commitment by the companies to devote substantial resources to accelerate delivery of leading-edge innovation that will put unique applications in the hands of consumers quickly. The two industry leaders will create, market and distribute products and services, with Verizon Wireless also contributing the breadth of its nationwide distribution channels. Consumers will be able to purchase products resulting from the collaboration in Verizon Wireless retail and online stores.

Verizon Wireless and Google plan to co-develop several Android-based devices that will be pre-loaded with innovative applications from both parties as well as third-party developers. The family of Android phones on the Verizon Wireless network will come from leading handset manufacturers.

“The nation’s best wireless broadband network is a perfect complement to the innovation of Android-powered services and devices,” said Lowell McAdam, chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless. “Together, we’ll work to deliver a compelling new experience to our customers.”

“The Android platform allows Verizon Wireless customers to experience faster and easier access to the web from any location,” said Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer for Google. “Through this partnership, we hope to deliver greater innovation in the mobile space to consumers across the U.S.”

The agreement will come to fruition within the next few weeks as Verizon Wireless introduces Android-based handsets.

I couldn’t be more ready for this.

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